I’m still not sure. The “bad year” turned into another “bad year”. And so far, it looks like we’re balls deep in “bad year” number three. Maybe it’s going to be bad years from here on out. Maybe nothing is ever going to be the same as it was. And, in some ways, that’s a good thing.
Weren’t we going to start a blog about being a freelance illustrator? Weren’t we going to be a freelance illustrator? Oh, yeah. We did that.
Then we spent two weeks working at Burlington before leaving mid-shift and keeping the apron.
We walked into a natural supplements store the very same day and got an interview, which turned into a job, which turned into another layoff when they decided that the store wasn’t profitable anymore. So we left. And kept the apron.
And then we were offered our old job back at the natural grocery chain that promised to be better this time around. We even got promoted to manager before we decided that it wasn’t actually better. In fact, it was worse. So we left. And kept the apron.
I’m knee deep in aprons and I haven’t had an art show since February of 2020. And, it’s not that there haven’t been opportunities. But at some point, I had to commit to the act of getting out of Orlando or I was going to be floundering in an ever-increasing cost of living in a place I never wanted to live in the first place. All of the print racks and folding tables and other nonsense are safe and sound in storage, where they will stay until I break free of these humid chains. I’ve finally secured a part-time job as a content writer that at least helps with expenses, even though it wouldn’t be enough to live on without my partner’s income. But it at least allows me the freedom to put out feelers for new opportunities while patching up this little house for whichever poor soul next decides they want to live in Central Florida.
I’m afraid, though, that I have little advice to offer freelance illustrators. I’m barely one myself. I’ve spent the past month agonizing over a personal illustration because I want to add a skeleton to it, yet can’t seem to bring myself to draw a skeleton.
If there’s any advice I have to offer, maybe it’s just to normal folks like me. Folks grasping at threads, hoping to find the one that will lead them to freedom and stability while maintaining their sanity in a world that seems to have gone insane. Us thirty-somethings and forty-somethings that didn’t jump on the right bandwagons or invest our parent’s money into the right digital currencies when we were twenty. Those of us who get excited over the prospect of growing tomatoes because of how much it will help the monthly food budget. Who still haven’t found anything in life that makes them feel more complete than the feeling of treebark under their fingertips. Who can’t explain why they feel that they’ve let the world down by not having changed it by now.
The only advice I have to give is how to get through the day to day. My favorite website for stock images and my favorite ways to cook with kimchi. Things I’ve learned about growing older, about work and taxes and existing in a world where other people also exist.
So. Maybe this is just a blog for folks. And maybe it always should have been.
Welcome to the Boneyard.